The Missouri State Assembly takes center stage with another oddly named state
representative, Jerubial Gideon Dorman of Henry County. A resident of both Kentucky and Illinois prior to his removal to Missouri, Dorman served as Henry County Judge during the early 1860s and in 1872 was elected to represent his adopted home county in the Missouri General Assembly for one term. A son of Kentucky farmer Matthew Dorman and his wife, the former Atlanta Barnes, Jerubial Gideon Dorman was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky on July 17, 1818. His family removed to the neighboring county of Gallatin soon after his birth, and Dorman is recorded as having attended a “primitive log school house” and also worked on his father’s farm.
The daily drudgery of farm work during his youth eventually proved to be too much for Jerubial, who left the farm and took to the water, working upon riverboats for several years. Like so many other young men of the time, Dorman caught the gold rush bug in 1849, and in that year began his journey to California via the water, embarking from Quincy, Illinois. He would eventually join a party of fellow “49ers” and went aboard the ship “Galveston”, which experienced a spot of trouble when it was caught in a storm in the Carribean Sea. The ship wrecked during the storm, and Dorman and his fellow travelers made it safely to a port in Honduras. The party would reach California some weeks after the wreck, but Dorman would reside in California but a short time, returning to his home in Quincy around 1851.
On April 12, 1852 Dorman married in Quincy to Udolpha F. Miller (1830-1906), with whom he would have seven children: Charles Douglas (1853-1938), William Henry (1855-1941), George Harris (1858-1938), Oscar McClellan (1862-1939), Emma Katherine (1864-1947), Lucy Bell (died in infancy in 1867) and Victoria Olivette (1867-1964).
Three years after his marriage Dorman and his family relocated from Illinois to Missouri,
settling in the town of Clinton in Henry County. Shortly after his arrival he established a mercantile business in town and for several years after was the only such store “of any importance in the county.” Dorman would also dabble in banking in addition to his mercantile firm, being a founder and first president of the First National Bank of Clinton.
Dorman first became active in local politics after Clinton was incorporated as a town in 1858 when he was named as a town trustee. He also served as a member of the town school
board and in 1860 was elected as the judge of Henry County. In the same year as his election as judge Dorman served as a delegate to the Missouri State Convention being held in Jefferson City, and had earlier helped draft a resolution to “conserve the Union.” In 1872 he was elected as one of Henry County’s representatives in the Missouri General Assembly, by “a majority of 575”. The 1874 Biographical Sketches of the Missouri Legislature described Dorman as:
“A Democrat of the old school, an intelligent, high minded gentleman, deliberate and careful of speech and vote, and ever mindful of the interest of his people and of the state. He is a gentleman of modest worth and sterling integrity.”
Noted as being “industrious in the interests of his constituents”, Dorman’s term
concluded in 1875 and he returned to his farm in Clinton. A member of the Odd
Fellows Lodge for over fifty years, Dorman is noted as having the distinction of being the oldest member in the state”. He died at age 91 on February 4, 1910 and was interred at the Englewood Cemetery in Clinton. He had been predeceased by his wife Udolpha in 1906, and is a far from forgotten figure in Clinton, with his home (erected in the 1850s) being placed on the
National Register of Historic Places in February 1983. The two-story brick home (mentioned as being the first of its kind in Clinton) can be toured by appointment.
One should also note that there are two spelling variations of Dorman’s first name, being given as both “Jerubal” and “Jerubial”. While editions of the Official Missouri Manual lists the former spelling, Dorman’s own death certificate records it as “Jerubial”, and it is that spelling that is given in the title to his article here.
Posted by Andy Osterdahl
Dorman helped draft a resolution to "Conserver the union" in 1860 prior to the civil war
Fun Fact – Built in 1852, the Dorman House, one block west of the town square, was the first two-story brick home built in Clinton. During the Civil War, Clinton was often occupied by Union troops. A skirmish (known as the Battle of Clinton) occurred when Confederate soldiers sneaked into town to harass Union soldiers guarding a supply depot across the street from the Dorman House. The owner, Judge Jerubial Dorman, served as Captain of the Home Guard. Most Clinton residents were Southern sympathizers with relatives fighting for the Confederacy. When trouble was brewing, men left town and hid in the Grand River bottoms to the south. When the coast was clear, a bed sheet was hung from the second-story window of the Dorman House to let them know it was safe to come back home.
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